| Media Release
A central number for those with mental health concerns
10 August 2010
People with mental health problems living in northern and western Melbourne now have one central number to call when they need immediate help.
From 10 August 2010, the NorthWestern Mental Health (NWMH) Centralised Triage Service can be contacted on 1300 TRIAGE (1300 874 243) at any time of day, seven days a week.
The dedicated triage team are senior mental health clinicians with many years of experience. New technological systems including new telephone equipment and processes will provide callers with the most advanced mental health triage service in Australia.
The centralised triage service provides advice or help for adults in need of mental health care. The service also takes after-hours calls for the youth and aged services in the area. It is hoped that as the NWMH Centralised Triage Service becomes established, that young or elderly callers concerned about their mental health, will also be supported by this central number, 24 hours a day.
Triage Project Manager, Ms Hang Nguyen, said the transition from the existing multiple triage numbers to the new single number would be a staged process.
“The existing triage numbers will divert to the new number but will remain active until 1 November. This is to ensure that people have time to get used to the new 1300 TRIAGE number. Current clients are being provided details of the new number by their treatment team and are receiving fridge magnets that display the new number.
“Other potential services users, such as local health services, GPs, counsellors and police have been briefed on the new triage system over the past month,” Ms Nguyen said.
The streamlined service has been several years in the making. Previously, NorthWestern Mental Health has had 55 access points to its clinical services. Over the past few years, improvements have reduced this number, however, the NWMH Centralised Triage Project brings all adult triage into one integrated service.
The NWMH Centralised Triage Project will:
- Improve access for patients and their carers.
- Increase consistency in responses and clinical pathways.
- Increase responsiveness, with staff available to take calls 24/7.
- Create an opportunity to develop the service as a specialist area with enhanced management and clinical processes as well as specialist training.
“A wonderful establishment team have been working together to ensure that we provide a service that callers find easy to use and meets the community’s demands,” Ms Nguyen said.
“We have focused on providing a clear and easy to use centralised triage service so that clients, their families and other health professional can access mental health experts whenever and from wherever they need us,” she said.
NorthWestern Mental Health provides a comprehensive range hospital, community and residential mental health services to the communities of northern and western metropolitan Melbourne. It offers treatment to young people, adults and the aged, and it is the mental health arm of Melbourne Health.
Photo caption: Staff from the NorthWestern Mental Health Centralised Triage team learn about the features of the new telephone system.
Irene Salkunas - 0419 339 084